To be honest, I’m not really sure what to say about this preserve. I was literally knocked speechless when I put the first taste in to my mouth. And it only got better from there as I tweaked here and there. Normally I’d have some sort of introduction, maybe a clever anecdote, but really, I’ve got nothing.
This is a soft set marmalade that uses the natural pectin in the fruit to achieve set. It is a traditional, three day process marmalade, so keep that in mind before you get started. The long sit time is important for two main reasons; extracting the maximum amount of pectin from the citrus (clementines have very few seeds generally) and to cut the bitterness of the clementine pith. The resulting preserve contains only the barest trace of bitterness. It is a very, very sweet marm- this is not health food folks. But it is *amazing.* I’m a bit hesitant to share recipes for products that I am selling, but really, I can’t, in good conscience, keep this one to myself.
Brown Sugar Clementine Marmalade with Vanilla
Makes 8-9 half pints
2.5 pounds clementines
1 medium sized lemon
6 cups water
1 vanilla bean
About 8 cups sugar, half white sugar, half brown sugar
1 Tablespoon high quality vanilla extract
Scrub clementines with warm water and soap, rinsing well. Refrigerate for several hours (chilled citrus slices easier). Using a very sharp knife, trim away the top and bottom ends, then slice in half. Trim out the core (there is a great photo tutorial at Hitchhiking to Heaven on prepping fruit for marmalade if you need pictures along with the words), removing the center pith. Scrape out any seeds you find, though there won’t be many in the clementines. Reserve trimmed pith and seeds, gathering them up in a cheesecloth bundle (we need them for the pectin boost). Save as much of the juice as possible. Cut the clementine and lemon halves in to thin, uniform slices, and then cut these slices in thirds.
Combine fruit, water and pith bundle in a large, non-reactive pot. Slice open the vanilla bean and scape the seeds in to the fruit mixture, then add the whole pod. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate over night.
Remove fruit mixture from fridge. Return to pot and bring back to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate over night.
1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner, jars, lids and rings. Put a plate in the freezer.
2. Remove fruit mixture from fridge. Bring back to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the clementine rinds are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly so it can be more easily handled. Using tongs, remove the pectin bundle and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible. Measure the mixture in to a wide, heavy bottomed pot or pan. For each cup of fruit mixture, add a half a cup white sugar and a half a cup brown sugar (total of one cup of combined sugar for each cup of fruit/water mixture). Stir to combine.
3. Return to a boil, stirring regularly. Cook at a hard boil, stirring regularly, until the marmalade reaches its jelling point, about 30-40 minutes, depending on the width of your pan. This marmalade will be darker, with thick, glossy bubbles when it is nearing done. If using a candy thermometer, the temperature should read a steady 220F. Otherwise, use a chilled plate to test a drop of marmalade. Put a dollop of marmalade on the chilled plate and wait for a minute. If the drop doesn’t run when the plate is tipped and wrinkles when you touch it with your finger, the marmalade is done. Otherwise, keep cooking it for another few minutes and try again.
4. When the marmalade is done, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and let it sit for a minute or two (this will help keep the ribbons of citrus zest more evenly distributed). Remove the spent vanilla bean pod before jarring.
5. Fill clean, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and apply lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, starting the timer when the water returns to a boil. At the 10 minute mark, remove from heat and uncover the canner. Leave the jars in the water for another five minutes or so to prevent the jam from bubbling out before removing from the hot water to a towel or cutting board. Allow to cool and check the seals. Sealed jars can be labeled and will easily keep for a year in the pantry. Unsealed jars should be refrigerated immediately and eaten in a few weeks.